In honor of Father’s Day, we thought it would be nice to highlight the health care available to men at our Planned Parenthood clinics. The following interview was conducted with a PPGNNJ Clinic Supervisor and staff nurse. Questions were collected by Robin Slaw, Sexual Health Educator with the Center for Family Life Education, based on questions asked by students and clients at programs or trainings.
1. Is Planned Parenthood for men, too? I thought it was just for birth control? That’s just for women to worry about, right?
Contraception is important for everyone to worry about. After all, having a child affects everyone. Also, women and men come to the clinic to have exams. Men need to take care of infection protection as well. It’s a good idea for everyone to care for their reproductive health!
2. What kind of care can men receive at your clinics?
Men can receive reproductive health care at our clinics, including exams and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), condoms, education on birth control and STIs, and referrals for [men who have experienced] sexual assault.We also do partner treatment, so if your partner is a patient at PPGNNJ and has a positive test for an STI, then we can treat you without additional testing.
3. Won’t it be embarrassing for me, the only guy waiting with all those women?
You won’t be the only male in the clinic. Guys come in for their own exams, and they also accompany their partners. Anyway, we hope it won’t be embarrassing to care for your own health!
4. I learned in health class that I can come to your clinic for STI testing. What kinds of tests do you provide?
You can get tested for Chlamydia, Herpes (if lesions are present), HIV, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. If you need a test for Herpes without symptoms being present, then we refer you to an STD clinic for the appropriate tests. If your partner is tested positive for Trichomoniasis, then we would treat you as well. We do visual exams for Scabies, Pubic Lice, and Genital Warts.
5. How do I know what tests I should get if I’ve had unprotected sex?
When you call, we’ll make an appointment for an STI screening. The clinician will determine the appropriate test(s).Additional testing partly depends on your demographic. For example, if you are in your teens and 20s, we know that Chlamydia is a high risk, so we would recommend a test for Chlamydia. If you’ve had male-to-male sex, or sex with a woman who has had sexual contact with someone who has had male-to-male sex, then we would recommend a test for Gonorrhea, since you might be at higher risk for that disease.
6. Why should I come to Planned Parenthood instead of my family doctor?
For confidential, professional and affordable care. Most people feel more comfortable coming to Planned Parenthood because they can sit and talk with trained staff, giving every client more time to discuss their concerns.
7. I’m 65, and dating women who are past the age of pregnancy. Why would I need to visit a Planned Parenthood clinic?
Even though your partner may not be at risk for pregnancy, both of you can still be at risk for sexually transmitted infections. If you are sexually active and non-monogamous, then we recommend that you ask a clinician about what tests are appropriate. If you are in a monogamous relationship, you can still come in for a genital exam.
8. I’m a concerned father sending my child off to college. What should I share about Planned Parenthood with my son or daughter to help keep them safe?
First, we would like to commend you for being supportive of your child and his or her sexual and reproductive health! You can bring your daughter or son in to talk to our health care providers about contraception, sexually transmitted infection prevention, and abstinence. If desired, your daughter or son can also get started with contraception at their first visit.
9. I heard from friends that you give away free condoms. Is that true?
Yes, we do, with every exam! Come on in! If you need to purchase condoms, they are low cost at Planned Parenthood.
10. I heard that condoms provided by Planned Parenthood break all the time. Is that true?
We have heard the same rumors, and we would like to assure you that we carry reputable brands of condoms. Clinics carry several different brands and types of condoms. [From educator Robin Slaw: It’s also important that you make sure that you understand how to properly fit and use a condom, since improper use or improper fit can lead to condom breakage. The most important issues are fit (too big or too small can cause breakage) and making sure to use a water- or silicon-based lubricant, not oil-based!]
For more information on men’s reproductive health care, please see Planned Parenthood’s Men’s Health Care pages.
For more information on sexually transmitted infections, try Planned Parenthood’s online test, The Check!